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weasel word

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noun
  1. a word used to temper the forthrightness of a statement; a word that makes one's views equivocal, misleading, or confusing.
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Origin of weasel word

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900
Related formswea·sel-word·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for weasel words

weasel words

pl n
  1. informal intentionally evasive or misleading speech; equivocation
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Derived Formsweasel-worded, adjective

Word Origin

C20: alluding to the weasel's supposed ability to suck an egg out of its shell without seeming to break the shell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with weasel words

weasel word

A word used to deprive a statement of its force or evade a direct commitment, as in Calling it “organized spontaneity” is using a weasel word; “organized” has sucked the meaning out of “spontaneity.” This idiom may allude to the weasel's habit of sucking the contents out of a bird's egg, so that only the shell remains. [Late 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.